In Guidance Memo No. 2021-08 of Feb. 28, the Department of Public Health and Social Services allowed many noncontact sports to resume, but not soccer.
For several weeks, Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam boys and girls soccer teams have been practicing, but have not been given the go-ahead to begin competition.
With a drop-dead date of April 9 for adding soccer to its calendar, the IIAAG is running out of time, and patience.
“The IIAAG high school board has regretfully decided that tomorrow, Friday, April 9, is the cutoff date for whether there will or will not be a girls soccer season,” IIAAG President Terry Debold wrote in a letter to DPHSS Director Arthur San Agustin and Environmental Public Health Officer Administrator Rosanna Y. Rabago. “It is unfair for the players to keep holding out from other possible activities i.e., girls volleyball, golf, track & field and other sports without even a remote indication that DPHSS can make a reasonable, sound decision, consistent with all of their other recent actions, easing restrictions in light of Pandemic Condition of Readiness advancements.”
Debold also is upset that Public Health Guidance Memo No. 2021-10, issued March 31, reduced the maximum allowable number of spectators, for outdoor sporting events, from 50 to 25. Public Health, on Thursday, amended the Guidance Memo to allow 50 spectators. In Guidance Memo No. 2021-08, issued Feb. 28, the number of spectators previously had been capped at 50. Debold also is angry that it took DPHSS a week to amend the memo.
“Meanwhile, having to wait yet another few days for a sensical, go-ahead-and-proceed response, allowing interscholastic soccer is completely unwarranted,” he added.
In Guidance Memo No. 2021-08, DPHSS has allowed baseball, paddling and several other noncontact sports.
In Debold's letter, he wrote that there is absolutely no medical or scientific explanation for how officials could allow paddling, ease restrictions for restaurants and bars, expand capacities for many businesses and services previously at 50-75% capacity, but can't allow high school soccer.
“I truly feel bad for the female athletes, and am sickened by your disregard for their physical, emotional and social welfare,” he added.
“The burden of their pain rests on your shoulders,” he wrote.